Tremont fourth-graders are given an experience to learn about immigration and naturalization

by Dylan Carlson Sirvent, ’19

This year, a new unit on immigration was developed by fourth-grade teachers at Tremont Elementary School to encourage discussions and thinking about what it is like to be a new face in a new place.

The unit started with a lesson that is conducted by a teacher who only speaks Chinese to show students what it might be like to be in a new school taught while being taught in a foreign language. Then, students read books about people who have immigrated and end the unit by attending a naturalization ceremony of immigrants at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Columbus.

Kristin McClellan, a teacher at Tremont and one of the developers of the immigration unit said that the project started due to the high number of ESL students at Tremont.

“I wanted to do a service project to help the many ESL students at Tremont. I originally started with an ESL project that would have students practicing informational writing,” McClellan said. “At the same time, I heard about field trips to a naturalization ceremony and the two just clicked.”

McClellan said that she thinks students have gained a deeper appreciation for what it means to be naturalized and hopes to continue the program for the coming years.

“The students loved the project and I hope we can continue to grow the unit each year,” McClellan said. “The parents have loved the trip as well.”